Norway: Exhibition attacked; municipality allegedly tries to keep incident quiet

On 1 March 2017, a man tore down and took four of the 25 works by cartoonist Arifur Rahman on display at an exhibition set up for newly arrived asylum seekers in the southern Norwegian city of Drøbak, reported Human Rights Service on 24 March 2017. The man, who behaved in a threatening manner, said […]

Norway/Russia: Musician cuts song from concert due to Russian pressure

The Russian Consulate General in Kirkenes, a town in north-eastern Norway near the Russian border, has interfered with a literature festival in the area by voicing its concern over a sold-out concert to be held on 17 November 2016 by Norwegian folk musician Moddi and Russian Arkhangelsk Chamber Orchestra, reported The Barents Observer on 15 […]

Nordic Ministers of Culture declare support for artistic freedom

“Artistic and creative expressions, as an integral part of the human right to freedom of expressions, is critical both to the development of cultures and to the functioning of democratic societies,” said a declaration by the Nordic Ministers of Culture adopted at a seminar on 2 May 2016 during the World Press Freedom Days in Helsinki. […]

Norway: Nobel Peace Centre event: ‘Let’s talk about freedom’

On 28 October 2015, Nobel Peace Centre in Oslo, Norway, hosted a two-hour event called ‘Let’s talk about freedom’, where Freemuse’s Daniel Brown was the moderator. Part 1  Children are the hope of the future. But what happens to the children and youth fleeing from war zones? Who are they and what are their lives […]

President of Norwegian Parliament: “Curb artistic freedom and you curb democracy altogether”

Music Freedom Day 2015 in Harstad, Norway, was opened by the president of the Norwegian Parliament, Olemic Thommessen. In his speech he talked about music and freedom of expression. “There are few with the power to convey something about the society we live in with such depth, complexity and honesty as artists and musicians. The […]

Norway: World women gathering to explore freedom of expression

On 30-31 January 2015, an unusual gathering of world women will unfold over two days of conversations and performances at Riksscenen in Oslo, Norway. The summit is organised by artist and activist Deeyah Khan. ‘World Woman’ is “a convening of courageous and creative women who are defenders of freedom of expression, campaigners for gender equality, […]

Norway: ‘Safe city’ Harstad receives Sudanese musician Abazar Hamid

Abazar Hamid, the Sudanese peace singer who was forced into exile in 2008, is today announced as “safe city musician” in the Norwegian city Harstad. It has been a long waiting for Hamid and Harstad. Almost two years ago the Norwegian city declared itself “the world’s first safe city for musicians”, but Norwegian immigration policy […]

Freemuse Award Winner 2014: City of Harstad in Norway

The Freemuse Award 2014 is given to The City of Harstad, Norway, which last year declared itself as the world’s first ‘Safe city for musicians’. Harstad is a city of 23,000 citizens, situated 300 kilometres north of the polar circle. Marianne Bremnes, Mayor of Harstad, says: “The city of Harstad is grateful and thankful for […]

Norway: Seminar about the role of music as instrument for social change

At a seminar in Oslo, Norway, on 29 October 2014, the South African musician Hugh Masekela will discuss the importance of music in the democratisation process in South Africa in a conversation with Freemuse Director Ole Reitov. Hugh Masekela has for years explored the role of music as an instrument for social change. The seminar […]

Norway: Christian heavy metal band receives death threats

The heavy metal band Antestor have recieved many death threats because of their Christian religion, reported Karoline Paulsen Årrestad for NRK, the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation “It’s pretty disgusting,” said bass player Erik Norman Aanonsen. “Many in the black metal community feel they are a counterculture to the authorities, and especially to the church. That is […]

Norwegian cultural executive: “We have a problem in our own society”

“One should not have to travel far to find examples of oppression. Filmmaker and artist Deeyah had to flee to London to escape harassment from very conservative communities in our own country,” said Yngve Slettholm at the opening session of the annual national meeting of Arts Council Norway in Bergen 13-14 November. Yngve Slettholm is […]

Safe havens for artists at risk – a Nordic perspective

On 10-11 November 2013, the Swedish Arts Council organised a Nordic Expert Meeting about Artistic Freedom of Speech to consolidate the growing movement to provide safe havens for censored and oppressed cultural workers. Several workshops demonstrated the complexity of organising safe havens for artists. During the meeting two cities, Stockholm and Malmö announced they will host […]

Norway: Excluded after singing Sami-style joik in church

The Parish Council in Kautokeino rages after trumpeter Ole Edvard Antonsen ‘joiked’ – a singing technique used by the Sami people from north Norway – during a free concert sponsored by Thon Hotels in Kautokeino church. “I have told Thon Hotels that this was not as agreed. There will be no more concerts like this […]

Harstad in Norway: First ever safe haven city for persecuted musicians

On Thursday 14 February 2013 at the Nordic music industry conference by:Larm in Oslo, the Norwegian Musicians’ Union presented their new project SafeMuse – and the first ever ‘safe haven city’ within the field of music: Harstad. Imagine that the police would come to the door of the artist and musicians after the concert in […]

Norway: Festival for freedom of artistic expression

‘RED ZONE – FREE THE ARTS’ is an international celebration of freedom of expression in art and culture, which will be held in Norway from 28 February to 3 March 2013 The famous Middle Eastern artists Tania Saleh, Rim Banna, Mohamad Abla and Syrian Bear Yumal are headlining the international culture-event ‘Red Zone’ which has […]

Deeyah speaks out at the Oslo Opera House

Music has stopped in Northern Mali due to attacks from religious extremists. But even in Europe singers have been threatened and silenced. In 1996 Norwegian born Deeyah moved from Oslo to London after threats. Continuing her career in the UK, her performances however led to difficult confrontations with orthodox Muslims, whose threats eventually made it […]



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